Health

7 Easy Ways To Simplify Your Life In 2017

Here's to a less stressful New Year!

Most of us are overworked and stressed out—at least some of the time. But there’s good news: You can simplify your life, and it’s easier than you may think. After all, our mental health and sanity are everything, and when our minds feel better, our bodies tend to feel (and look!) better as well. Here are seven ways you can simplify your life, starting right now.

1. Downsize Your Living Space

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Are you living above your means? Perhaps you had a roommate or significant other, but they moved out and now you’re paying double the rent. You may justify it, saying you use the spare room as an office, guest room or for storage, but is it worth all the extra money you’re forking over each month? If not, it’s probably time to downsize to something more affordable. Then, you can save all the extra money and start a vacation, savings or emergency fund. Years ago, I did this and haven’t looked back.

2. Get Rid Of Clutter

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Getting rid of clutter goes hand-in-hand with downsizing your living space. Rather than tackle it all at once, sort through one drawer, box or closet per day. Soon, your space will be much tidier. You can do this with your own possessions, as well as your kids’. For instance, a friend of mine believes her children have too many toys. So they are only allowed to accept a gift from someone if they also one to give to Goodwill. You can “play” the same game when it comes to your items, too. Plus, you’ll be helping people in need and modeling good behavior for your children. It’s a win-win.

3. Make More Room In Your Closet

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We can all use some extra space in our closets, right? One way we love to do this is via the “hanger trick.” Just have all your hangers facing the same way and then you turn them the other way after you wear an item. After a certain number of weeks or months, you can see what hasn’t been worn and give away those items of clothing. Easy, right? Another trick to decluttering daily is to keep a shopping bag or bin in your closet, as personal organizing expert Elizabeth Larkin suggests. “This allows you to declutter the closet and toss items you no longer want as often as possible,” she said. “I use a big shopping bag from Lord and Taylor, which is extremely portable.” Agreed!

4. Clean Your Desk Every Night

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I know, how many of us procrastinate and tell ourselves we’ll clean our desk tomorrow? (Guilty!) “If it’s not essential, remove it permanently,” as recommended by blogger Joshua Becker of BecomingMinimalist. Becker started this habit after a businessman from the Philippines said, “Clear off your office desk every night before you leave. You’ll be thankful in the morning.” And the best news? You can do so in just five minutes each night, so you can start fresh the next day.

5. Use TaskRabbit

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Let’s face it—we can all use a helping hand sometimes, though we may not know where to look. Enter TaskRabbit. In case you missed it, it’s an app wherein you can hire someone to do everything from last-minute Christmas shopping to clean your house. It’s like having your own personal assistant, on an as-needed basis. Someone can be over at your house to help in a matter of minutes. Then, you just pay through the app. Simple. And if you’re looking for extra income, you can become a “Tasker” yourself.

6. Try The Meditation App Headspace

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Like we said before, mental health is everything, and that includes reducing stress and anxiety in our everyday lives. I know what you’re thinking—you may not be a meditation person, so why would you be interested in a meditation app like Headspace? Well, I wasn’t into meditation either. (Sit down and be calm? On purpose? No thank you!) But, once I heard friend after friend recommend the app, I decided to try it myself. And now I’m hooked. Plus, you can get 10 free 10-minute meditations. When you press play and close your eyes, you’ll feel as if the person guiding the meditation—a very calming and personable male voice, by the way—is in the room with you. The greatest part? It’s no that hard to find just 10 minutes to escape and do this mediation each day, whether you go on a walk during a work break or go sit in your car. No excuses. You’ll see. Soon, you’ll be hooked, too.

7. Slow Down

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On a recent road trip, I visited some friends in Springfield, Illinois, which is a much smaller city than Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, the cities I’ve lived in my whole adult life. At a green light in a left-turn lane, the car ahead of me was not turning. My Springfield friends were in the car with me. I waited. . .and waited. . . and waited. Still no turn. So I honked. My friends gasped as if I’d committed a huge sin. “No one honks here,” they said. Now, I was the one to gasp. My friends continued. “No one honks here because no one’s in a hurry. Think about it—what’s the hurry?” So now, every time I find myself getting impatient—or wanting to honk—I ask myself that: “What’s the hurry?” After all, I’m sure their jobs are just as busy as mine, with pressing deadlines just like mine. Will a few more seconds at a stoplight really ruin my day?

The next time you find yourself stressed out, look around you. Is your life as simple as it can possibly be, or can you use the methods above to make it less hectic, and ultimately, more fulfilling?